Health & Wellness

It Gets Harder to Lose Weight as You Age

You eat right and exercise but still gain weight; don’t worry—it’s natural


The older you get, the harder it can be to lose weight, even with a healthy diet and exercise. A new European study explains why.

Researchers in Sweden and France found that lipid turnover—the rate at which lipid, or fat, in the fat cells is removed and stored—decreases as you age, making it easier to gain weight as a result. The study results were published in the journal of Nature Medicine.

“The results indicate for the first time that processes in our fat tissue regulate changes in body weight during aging in a way that is independent of other factors,” Peter Arner, lead-author and medical professor at the Karolinska Institute near Stockholm, Sweden, said in a statement.

Researchers followed 54 men and women over the span of 13 years and found that those who didn’t cut calories to compensate saw an average 20% weight increase.

The researchers also analyzed the fat cells of 41 women women who had undergone weight-loss surgery to see how the surgery affected their weight gain four to seven years later. They found that women with low rates of lipid turnover before surgery later had increased rates of fat turnover and maintained their weight loss. Since exercise also increases fat turnover in the body, Armer said the findings suggest that increasing physical activity post-surgery could help make weight-loss surgery more effective.

Photo: iStock/tetmc.